Friday, May 4, 2012

It's got to be fun may not be true

Most exercise gurus will tell you that if your physical activity isn't enjoyable for you, you won't stick to it. Well, I'm here to tell you that that's not always true. I've been a regular exerciser for more than 30 years and I've never really enjoyed it. I don't like being hot or sweaty, I don't like sore muscles from weight lifting. I always feel like a klutz. But I like what exercise does for me: the endorphin rush, the virtuousness of meeting my commitment to myself, and the fact of doing my body a favor.

So I had to think about this when I was coaching a new client Monday night about developing a writing practice and I heard the words "it needs to be fun" come out of my mouth. And she nodded her head but I knew I needed to shift out of that. Yes, it helps if it's fun. But in her case, she's writing some painful memoir stories and we talked about her commitment and her determination to complete this project as more important than fun.

Then I got to thinking about it and realized that for me what is important is that the work be satisfying.   Sometimes it is fun. I solved a nagging problem this morning when I was doing my early hour on the novel, and that was fun, even though it involves a character who's pretty reprehensible. But more importantly, it was satisfying.

Writing every day is satisfying to me. Painting and doing collage regularly are satisfying for me. As Eric Maisel, my creativity coach says, creating is one of the most meaningful and satisfying things a human being can do. If you're struggling to keep your writing or other creative practice going, try thinking of it less in terms of fun and more in terms of satisfaction. How can you deny yourself a daily opportunity to be satisfied?